By Woodard, Dale on February 10, 2020.
In a game where there wasn’t much room, Calen Addison found some.
Playing the first of two games on the weekend, the Canes downed the Prince Albert Raiders 3-1 in Western Hockey League play Saturday night at the Enmax Centre.
Midway through the third period, Addison came off the wall with the puck, found some room in the middle of the ice and snapped a shot past Raiders goaltender Max Paddock for a 2-1 lead.
Oliver Okuliar added an empty-netter to give the Hurricanes their first win of the season over the Raiders after dropping the first three.
The win also had some significance on the bench, giving Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio his 189th win and moving him into first place in franchise history past Bryan Maxwell.
That number moved to 190 Sunday afternoon as the Hurricanes pulled out a wild 6-4 win over the Calgary Hitmen in Calgary to cap off a 2-0 weekend that puts Lethbridge at 33-12-2-5, four points up on the Medicine Hat Tigers (33-16-2-1) for second in the Central Division.
Saturday night at the Enmax Centre, the post-season vibe was evident in front of the crowd of 4,763.
“It was a battle. It was playoff hockey kind of game,” said Kisio. “There wasn’t a lot of space for either team and when there were chances the goalies played well and there were some nice saves. I thought (goaltender Carl) Tetachuk made some great saves, especially late. They had some opportunities and we battled and we found away. It was a good hockey game.”
The Raiders opened the scoring on a goal from Zack Hayes 4:27 into the first before Okuliar tied it on the power play with 6:17 left in the first.
It remained tied until midway through the third when Addison broke the deadlock with his ninth of the season.
“I thought he skated well the whole night and moved the puck well,” said Kisio. “He’s a difference maker and when he gets an opportunity in the slot like that we feel pretty confident he is going to get a good look and get a good chance to score. He stepped up for us all year long and that’s what he does.”
“The puck just kind of popped to me inside their blue line,” added Addison. “I just took a step and realized I had a bit of room and just ripped it high. It went in, so it’s a huge win for our group.
“That was as close to a playoff game as it gets and the refs were letting a lot go, which is good, as long as it’s even like that. It makes for a great battle.”
Tetachuk turned aside 27 of 28 shots for his 18th win of the season.
“It’s huge when your goalie is dialed in like that,” said Addison. “If he plays like that down the stretch we’re going to be in for a long season, for sure.”
As for his franchise-leading win, Kisio was quick to spread the credit around.
“It’s not me, it’s the whole group here. It’s all of the players and all of the staff. Peter (Anholt, Hurricanes general manager) has done a great job getting very good hockey players here. Good hockey players make coaches look a lot smarter than they are.”
On Sunday in Calgary, the Hurricanes saw a 4-1 third-period lead vanish in a little under six minutes as the Hitmen came back to knot things up 4-4 with 8:37 to go following a power play goal from Carson Focht and a pair from Mark Kastelic.
The Canes grabbed the lead back 1:40 later when Brett Davis sniped his 17th of the season for the eventual-game winner.
Zack Stringer added an empty-netter with 14 seconds to go.
Addison, Okuliar, Alex Cotton and Ty Nash paced Lethbridge to a 4-1 lead after the second period.
Jett Woo scored in the first period for the Hitmen.
Stringer and Cotton also had an assist for a two-point afternoon and Dylan Cozens and Logan Barlage each had two assists.
Canes goaltender Bryan Thomson stopped 33 of 37 shots as the Hitmen outshot the Hurricanes 32-13 in the last 40 minutes.
Hitmen netminder and Taber product Brayden Peters made 19 saves.
The Hurricanes power play was 1-for-4, while the Hitmen were 2-for-3 on the man advantage.
Lethbridge is back home Friday and Saturday night when the Winnipeg Ice come to town for a two-game set.
Game time is 7 p.m. both nights at the Enmax Centre.
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